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Maggie’s Centre, Sligo, Ireland

Part 1 Project 2013
James Huxley
Institute of Technology Sligo Ireland
Maggie’s Sligo is a proposed addition to the renowned holistic healing typology founded by Maggie and Charles Jencks in the 1990’s. In essence, it is a daytime drop-in centre for anyone in the Sligo region affected by cancer.

Central to the Maggie’s ethos is that each centre should provide the appropriate care, psychological support and information required to counsel those affected by cancer. The Maggie’s organization suggests each centre should be the antithesis of typical healthcare buildings, providing a homely, domestic feel in a serene, yet striking environment. This has led to the emergence of a hybrid building type model, which encourages the use of metaphor, humour and diverse form.

The design response of this project aims to deliver architectural solutions informed by a conceptual approach derived from a research-led understanding of client, user, program, site and context.

The proposal is a re-imaging of an existing domestic dwelling, presently operating as a commercial entity associated with healthcare. The site was selected for its commanding views of the mountains, for its privacy within the grounds of Sligo General Hospital and for its location between the car park and the hospital’s main entrance.

The conceptual approach to the project stems from two inspirational and moving quotes from Maggie Jencks at different stages of her battle with cancer. They both relate to the joy of living and the gift of life and have prompted consideration about the passage of time, how lucky we are to exist at all and the chance conditions in the universe necessary for the formation of carbon; the element which allows life. A number of conceptual derivatives have emerged from this exploration and these have manifested themselves as various architectural devices employed throughout the project to focus on the experience of the individual.

The over-arching objective of Maggie’s Sligo is to provide a conduit from which the spirituality of the individual is celebrated as a means of empowerment.

James Huxley


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